After a month of writing long hours, several months of research (off and on), a lot of thinking and serendipity, it felt so good on Thursday to finish the rough draft of what will be my third Arizona historical romance (with a short story for the anthology tucked between second and this one).
It was fun to reconnect with these characters from earlier books, to see a new romance blossom, a new hero's journey begin and come to a completion. Once again so many things that have interested me over so many years fell into place. I LOVE writing and the research that enriches it. A lot of the research I never even know I am doing when I do it and then suddenly it fits into a new book.
An example comes from my dreams. I am blessed to have image and story filled dreams, often symbolic, sometimes in movie form. I had one September 19, 2006. I remember it well, wrote about it my journal at the time.
The dream was full of symbols. Then I was in a room with a group of people. They were explaining to me who had been in my Yaqui family in a prior life. The man behind me had been my Yaqui father. I was told that my lover, who I never saw, was in the other room. An old woman said the miracles and symbols were only get my attention; so I would listen to deeper truths.I did a computer portrait afterward, seeing myself as a Yaqui woman. Although I was interested in the culture, knew the Yaqui people had a presence in Tucson, I didn't do much more about this.
Then came this idea for a historical book where the hero would be from the Yaqui culture. Unsure how long the story would be, I went from thinking short story to novella and finally full novel.
January, while in Tucson, I visited two museums, bought several books (Yaqui Deer Songs by Maso Bwikam and Yaqui Myths and Legends by Ruth Warner Giddings. Because of time constraints, I decided against visiting the Yaqui museum which is in an old house in Pascua (in the center of Tucson). I wish now I had done that. At the time I thought the Yaqui aspect would be a minimal part despite knowing from the beginning that the name of the book will be Yaqui Moon.
Well it turned out the Yaqui culture and one (fictional) family became very important to the story. As has happened so many times when I write-- once I begin, even if I know the bones of the story, it's the journey with a lot of wonderful surprises that makes the writing fun.
I am not sure when this book will come out. I need at least two good edits of my own, have several beta readers who will be looking at it; so maybe by late summer? (We have a Yellowstone trip set for July). I am not sure how others will see it. I never know that. For me though, it is the book I have loved writing the most of any. I loved my hero and heroine and that feeling only intensified as I wrote.
I began it March 6 and concluded its rough draft April 3, a lunar cycle-- not that I intended it that way. It didn't begin or end on a full or new moon. It ended when the story had been told.
While writing it, I had included time for my characters in cliff dwellings in Arizona. In the research to be sure of what I planned, I came across a book that I HAD to have, found a used copy through Amazon, and it came Saturday-- Echoes in the Canyon The Archaeology of the Southeastern Sierrra Ancha Central Arizona by Richard C. Lange. Skimming through, it delighted me for all the information but also because it made me confident that what I wrote about their time in cliff dwellings was right on.
To be honest, I wanted this book more for us than the new book. Seeing such places, being responsible in how we visit them, respecting those who built them by not desecrating what remains, are still among our interests. I can't describe what it's like to be in such dwellings.. Okay I did try to get some part of that across in my future Arizona romance.